tv [untitled] July 11, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
thanks so much for watching have a great. place . to. start. blowing welcome to cross talk and peter lavelle pondering the future of the north atlantic treaty organization is it in alliance in search of a mission does it project peace and stability as it claims or is it a dangerous and unstable western organization engaged in impression.
that it can. still. cross the nato mission and design i'm joined by george we need to see is the director of nato source and a senior fellow in the international security program at the atlantic council also in washington we have william blum he's a historian and political writer and in istanbul we cross to gareth jenkins he's a nonresident senior fellow with the institute for security and development policy all right gentlemen this is cross talk that means you can jump in anytime you want gareth fungo to you first in istanbul a lot of people are really questioning what the nature of nato is right now it did a good job during the cold war most people would agree is it doing a good job now being involved in so many interventions in the arab world is that it needs its new mission now. well it's only been in one so far rate in libya but i think the point you made at the beginning is there is a very good one we do now have an alliance in search of a mission and to a certain extent it's been fortunate in that crises arisen over the last few years
which have justified its continued existence but when we look to the future i think there are a serious questions about whether it's going to justify the continued expense of keeping this is huge or lions alive ok george what do you think about that in washington. i think there is no alliance has been very successful and still maintains its core mission which is to keep the peace in the trans-atlantic area in particularly in europe i think it's performs a great value and contribution in international peace because it provides transparency and prevents dean nations from europe from re nationalizing their militaries so that way there's no competition or rivalries within europe but they're all united in one security organization that keeps the peace well george you really think it's very hard to take that seriously about you know national militaries in europe right now i do you see the possibility of conflict among european countries today in two thousand and twelve. it's not a question of seeing it today we don't see it today because we have the benefit of
nato that's existed now for over sixty years but the problem is if we look at other regions in the world that don't have these type of successful healthy and positive security organizations we see all of these rivalries nato was created to solve the historic rivalries that had existed in europe for centuries and it has succeeded in do so so why give that up and return to the former period where every nation was looking after its own so you know i thought i thought nato was designed to hold off the soviet union william what do you think about it is is nato turning into an unstable military organization. well unfortunately it's too stable which is not seeking peace it's been involved in the one serious war after another since the one nine hundred ninety s. it from yugoslavia to afghanistan to. libya and now syria is not keeping the peace the day they are a war making machine the only military alliance in the world and that's what they do for a living and they put it another way they are the third of washington they are the
people the washington sends out there to do their dirty business so washington can pretend to be a priest seeking nation but they use the nato just as as as a mafia to to when they need to quit sound and the attempt to upset the power they send then george you agree or disagree with that something tells me you disagree. that's just an accurate on the facts of history show that nato did not create wars there were conflicts that were existing already in the balkans in libya and what nato did was intervene to try to save lives and nato has not acquired territory nato has not acquired any resources in fact nato contributed its allies and its treasure to help save the lives of civilians ok gareth what do you think about that afghanistan at that go ahead guarantee. yeah i would dispute the idea that nato is keeping peace within the atlantic area because when we look at its
missions over the last twenty years we've only seen one really in the area and most of its mission now seems to be out of the area and i'd also dispute this idea that it's keeping peace in europe at the moment of course we now have another mechanism in europe which i would argue has been a lot more influential in. establishing or maintaining the peaceful relations between the european countries announce the e.u. we also have to bear in mind of course so not everybody in europe is in nato so if nato is the only reason that the european countries aren't fighting each other how do you explain back to the non nato members in europe who aren't fighting each other i think the question here really is not so much whether nato played a role in the past even whether it played a positive role in say the one nine hundred ninety s. or the thousands it's what happens in the future when you look at the history of alliances a really being created for something and now we have with nato alliance which is waiting for a reason to justify its continued existence william jumping ahead i think i think
we have to look at where and how and when nato is used it's always used to put down governments which refused to be clients of the of the u.s. and the e.u. . in yugoslavia and in libya and in syria these are all governments who have refused to be very obedient servants of washington and the e.u. and that's what we are in a truer sense and. change and that's the only immersion in syria is regime change the only mission in syria was regime change and yugoslavia their mission was to overthrow what is name. which. came milosevic again and again you seem change that's what they do for a living nature they gaijin regime change anything else is just. soft soaping the out the whole bush and then they kill and bomb wherever they go
and this is not a peace mission now when you've killed tens of thousands and afghanistan tens of thousands and how who knows how many thousands and in libya and how many more to be in syria this is not a peace mission this is simply the stronger of the e.u. and and the us right george you want to respond to others aren't there. there is a lot there if we look at what exactly happened what occurred in the balkans was not regime change what it was is nato intervene as part of the international community through a un sanctions to stop the regime in serbia from continuing to kill tens of thousands of innocent people in the balkans nato intervene as a responsible member of the international community now for its own interest but to protect civilian lives i mean the facts are that there are hidden mass graves in the balkans of tens of thousands of people killed in slaughter because of ethnic conflict nato intervened to stop that violence it did not initiate the violence but
it interview that responsibility what's the alternative that is a myth well you know i've written about that myth the myth is that first came the violence against the people of kosovo by the serbian government and then came the nato intervention but that's not true if you look at i have written about this in detail you look at the new york times and i give the exact dates and page numbers it shows that first came the nato intervention then came the the violence in kosovo. the world has gotten it backwards it's a big myth surrounding that nato did not intervene for any kind of humanitarian reasons and intervene. to effectuate the overthrow of. that's what they do there's no the whole thing was when the balkans would not have wouldn't have begun if it wasn't for the u.s.
in the early ninety's the abbas a year and a sure and the serbian element in. but the day they had agreed to for two and a priest for a solution to the conflict then the u.s. intervened and told them no you can't do that the u.s. ambassador is. woman when we went to bosnia and he said no this is you know this is not what we want done we don't we don't want this to have any kind of equal power here and that put an end to the whole of the bosnians ok and then what followed. i want to go i want to get this right now i think it's an interesting point here is that you know we have to remind our viewers that nato was established to counter a soviet threat but all of its activities the only thing that ever done is been since the fall of the soviet union in the end of the warsaw pact what to a certain extent i think the big sisters in nato served as
a deterrent. during the cold war i think the point here is when you look at the international the international community there aren't any other other mechanisms and i would i would dispute first a lot of what was said there was also dispute the fact that america necessarily needs nato in order to intervene because we saw in two thousand and three with the invasion of iraq we had a massive invasion and a lot more people were killed in iraq and work in costs for serbia but then america didn't need nato and i think it clearly they're looking for some kind of security mechanism within europe it should be a european one but at the same time i would personally i would prefer to see some kind of international security mechanism rather than one that was dominated by one country and one particular ideology george you want to jump in there anyhow i would agree to go to georgia fair time george. i agree it's helpful to have more actors such as the e.u. engage in solving some of the problems in the international system i agree that it
would be better for more countries to also contribute to solving these problems and to stopping regimes from using violence against their own people but the facts of the matter are that nato has been the most successful nato has been the most has the most resources and nato has been the most willing to contribute to these un sanctions missions to keep the peace and to keep regimes that are using violence against your own people you used the word successful how do you mean that it's been successful in this that again i stand libya as we as we've been discussing in this case even after the cold war in the twenty years since the cold war nato has only been involved in two or three major missions such as in the balkans and in libya and in afghanistan i mean for all those years it's only been involved in those things and those were cases where there was a clear and a and directly interesting that's going to address a lot of. william go ahead you say three you know those three examples you gave have been almost nonstop nato has been involved in fighting almost nonstop since
the end of the cold war it's not just a reminder as you know that changes in the international system it's a reflection of new threats that have come up these are not conflicts that nato initiated but these are conflicts that nato has responded to act responsibly the alternative is for nato and that's not for the markets in the world to do nothing would you prefer for the democracies in the world to sit back and let regimes continue to use violence in their area interesting point and we're going to go to a break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the state of our. state. you know how sometimes you see a story and it seems so you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear or see some other part of it and realize everything you thought you
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and. welcome back to crossfire i'm you know about to mind you were talking about nato future. and you can. start. ok get fungo back to you in istanbul it's interesting that you're in a stamboul here we could see note nato being tested again here let's say for example we did have the plane that was down by the syrians not long ago another incident like that turkey can say you know invoke article five or really push for it i mean is what i'm getting i think you get into a war that not everybody in nato wants to get involved in ok certainly the american people don't want to get involved there but it could under the way nato was designed or flaw. yes i would argue a very negative system is outdated and i think there is a problem when we look at the conflicts in the world there's a temptation to say the defenders of nature to say it's for peace it's stop
people's lives being lost but when you look there's an enormous number of conflicts with nato hasn't got involved where there has been no mechanism to try to establish peace and when we look at nato as remit really it's very very limited and it's dominated by by one country of course when you have a country like the u.s. which spends more on as much on its defense industry as every other country in the world combined there is always going to be an imbalance in terms of military capabilities and i think any effect of international security mechanism is going to have to have the u.s. involved in it purely because of the u.s. its capabilities but i would argue that the way nato acetyl as a man it was set up for a specific mission it was a stablished in europe it's still the most respect in europe and yet we're living in a globalized world where a lot of the conflicts are happening many thousands of miles away so there's i think there's a real need for a new form of security alliance which includes as diverse as possible as
a spectrum of the countries in the world and can i respond effectively to calls by the international community not just caused by the u.s. or specifically nato and that the existing nato members georgia anything about there should nato be redesigned let's go to george first. no i think nato is perfectly designed for its role its mission and its contribution to the international system nato is a regional organization i think what garrett is talking about is a broader more more comprehensive organization such as the united nations that was the mission the things that the guy is talking about that's what the united nations was created to address but unfortunately some other nations in the united nations particularly in the security council such as russia and china we see their efforts to impede the international community's consensus and to support regimes such as the assad regime when you know international and when you know you can sanitize it against the really you can always take issue with that the international community consensus no that's the united states and its friends go ahead jump in william yeah
no actually look at the volumes if you don't know you want to look at the vaults and the general assembly if china are willing to go where there was always that they represent parts of the global community as well ok william jump in. yes i'd like to i'd like to ask my two fellow guests this question say that imagine the nato did not exist right now imagine nato had never existed what argument would you use now today to calling for the establishment of something like nato what would be your argument ok i usually you know we are usually asked a question here we get it go ahead answer what you think i think i returned distinct. questions and i think the answers have to be different in terms of nato which was created for a specific purpose and it was created as a as a counterweight really to the forces of the warsaw pact pact i think you can just create a maze and then here's our question today is the time if you look if you look at
the current situation i would say that this is you know you should have horses for courses this the current structure of nato the way it's set up its membership is not suited to the world we live in we don't live in a bipolar world and it will anymore we live in a multi-polar world and therefore i think we need an organization which reflects that so i would say yes nato is justified in setting it setting it up or ritually but if we if nato didn't exist i wouldn't advocate setting up nato as it is at the moment with you know the u.s. and the rest is infrastructure basically being based in europe i don't think that really fits the modern world ok george. george answered the question there although in another speech fair i think that's. right i think that's a very important question and i think that if nato did not exist we have desperate need for i think we would have a need for nato to exist because it's of great value and a great contribution to the international community for all of the major democracies in the world to be working together to help solve security problems
that is the major mission of nato and i think it makes a contribution plus to nato partnerships the democracies in nato or work with other countries in other regions to help spread better stability and security in other regions ok william go ahead jump in. i would question even has been said a few times today about the. reason for nato it was not to fight the soviet or not to protect the west against the soviet union the west knew very well that the soviet union had no intention whatsoever of invading western europe nato was set up in the west to to make sure that no communist party came to power especially and france or italy that is the reason why nato was set up that's the reason that they instituted operation gladio which people should know about which was a terrorist organization run by nato and the u.s.
to carry out violence all over western europe and blame it on the communist the congress to keep the congress out of power in italy and france and they succeeded that was the reason it was nato was set up. ok get gas what do you think the future should be i mean you mentioned earlier in the program i think is interesting is that you know should europe just offend europe and united states to skate take care of its issues i mean. decouple i think that i think there's certainly a need for greater security integration in europe particularly look at the expense we have a lot of countries now in europe are cutting back on that force is already too much duplication so i'd really like to see some kind of uniform unified security for force in europe but i think it's also important to look at nato whether we got them the successes or failures we talk to and nato interventions but i come back to this point there's a lot of things that happened in the world which nato manifestly didn't we didn't get involved in to give just one example to rwanda and genocide so obviously the
security setup we have in the world at the moment isn't meeting its needs and that's why i think we need this new infrastructure this is new texture to be able to meet the needs of the world of the modern world george what do you think about that would you like to. let me go to georgia or would you like to see need to expand i don't think it's a question of nato expansion i don't think nato is interested in expanding immediately but what we do see is the fact that i agree with that there are far more security threats and far more security problems in the world than nato can deal with they're beyond the resources of even nato and for that we need the whole international community to cooperate better together i think the case of rwanda is a perfect example of these are the types of missions where there is violence in ethnic conflict being used against innocent people where the international community cannot just say we will not intervene we will not get involved but it is our moral imperative. the right mechanism to deal with that
as i said i don't think nato has a right mechanism of these problems i think there are some within the nato area and along the periphery that nato can contribute to but i think it's also the responsibility of other regions and other members of the international community to contribute and paul do their fair share ok william jump in. ga ga if you think that nato is concerned about keeping the peace and saving lives and i find it amazing why didn't they intervene in iraq to save the iraqi people from the american bombing can you answer that question that's a clear case of outside aggression against people who had not invaded the us and the us went and killed tens of thousands of thousands of people why didn't they to intervene then the answer is obvious that nato and the us are the same entity there's no point in speaking of those who the the us is nato nato is the us and the us was the one who was carrying out the genocide in iraq so of course nato was not
called in to intervene in georgia when replying to that there were disagreements over the iraq conflict and the fact that you bring up the iraq conflict was a perfect example of that nato is not dominated by the united states the us wanted to be involved in iraq and the us had to act by itself because other nato members do not agree with our mission and fact we have turkey did not agree with their mission and they are not cooperate as strongly on the iraq mission and it has another thing so you see there is disagreement within nato that there had been all our debate. there there was many people in the us itself who were against the invasion of iraq that they had to stop the us that's not the issue or nato doesn't have the power to stop the us from waging a war if it wants to and neither do the american people does your argument has and has no has no substance to it the us those who are the ones and when it went to wants to pretend that it's nato doing it not themselves then they use nato
otherwise they do and the name of the united states and nato is just the hired thugs to go and win over the us wants to. keep our distance gassed pursuers here in israel you get going on here in istanbul do you worry that nato could be dragged into an overt conflict in syria. i think it's unlikely at the moment there's certainly no desire for it but i think there's always a danger that if we see some more incidents along the border that nato may have to flee i don't think so much troops on the ground or something perhaps similar to what happened with libya will there be pressure from turkey the nato to establish a no a no fly zone i think it's important remember when we look at turkey as a member of nato it's actually stopped nato doing two things that it really wants to do and the u.s. wants to do one was closer military cooperation between nato and the european union the european. security force a rapid reaction force that the ear was trying to set up and most recently turkey
has been vetoing any cooperation between nato and israel so at the moment even for you know the us i mean the u.s. isn't completely dominating nato and we've seen some disputes between member states about a lot of a lot of other incidents as well and i think that we would see that with turkey of turkey tried to push and it did try to push after the downing of the jet it tried to push for a lot harder nato reaction actually got we do see resistance within the organization yes i think the u.s. dominates it but it doesn't have complete control ok georgia last ten seconds the last word in the program are you worried that nature might get in over war in syria . i am concerned that the assad regime in damascus may continue to have provocative actions such as shooting down this reconnaissance plane by the troops it nato has been very clear that if syrian forces attack turkish territory
i'm going to be as you are gentlemen we've run out of time fascinating conversation many thanks to my guests in washington and in istanbul and thanks to our viewers for watching us here our peak see you next time and remember. any. story. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear or see some other part of it and realize everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm tom hartman welcome to the big picture.